B U F F A L O N E W S buffalonews.com
SANBORN— The Lockport City School District’s secondary students did a “three-peat” Wednesday by winning the 12th annual Tech Wars competition at Niagara County Community College.
It wasn’t easy.
Lockport wrapped up first place with 38 points, 12 points ahead of Newfane and newcomer Grand Island High School, which tied for second place with 26 points apiece.
Last year, Lockport students scored 73 points, wiping out all comers in various technology events. The second-place team was the Tonawanda City School District, which scored an extremely distant 23 points.
The Lockport team also captured the competition in 2007.
Wednesday, the City of Tonawanda School District came in third with 19 points, and Barker Central School District was fourth with 11.
Lockport won not by taking first in some of the more high-profile events — such as the Sumo Robot wrestling competition, generally considered the main event — but by winning some of the lesser known events.
For example, Lockport’s North Park Middle Schoolers took first place in three events, including 12- year-old Nse Obet’s first-place finish in the Musical Instrument Design competition for his creation of an electric trombone.
The Newfane Central School District — the undisputed king of technology from 2004 through 2006, before Lockport won three straight — exacted a bit of revenge on Lockport. It took the Heavy Sumo Robot wrestling event over a Lockport entry by beating out their competitor in the final round of an elimination tournament.
Newfane’s Nathan R. Wright, 17, and James J. Urban, 18— both seniors — said they won the five bouts to take the championship by designing their 29-pound bulldozer- shaped robot with a very low center of gravity and using a spring to keep its front shovel solidly scraping the floor of the wooden circle where the remote-controlled robots try to shove each other off the edge of the fighting circle.
The High School Bridge Design event was won by Grand Island seniors Sean R. Benninger, Joseph P. Oliverio, Alex Neats and Tim Shantler. Their 64-inch long, 3.85- pound pine wood bridge was able to stand up to 400 pounds of weight piled on top of it, and it appeared able to withstand another 200 pounds based on its excellent design support all over, with Xshaped supports both along the side of the structure and below it.
“It took us 11 days to make it and we notched all the [numerous] cross support sections” so the bridge would not crumble under pressure, Benninger said.
A combination of 21 schools and districts participated. In addition to the five districts already named, they were: the BOCES Harkness Center in Erie County, LaSalle Preparatory School in Niagara Falls, the Buffalo Academy, the Stanley Falk School and the Starpoint, Lewiston-Porter, Clarence, Cleveland Hill, Hamburg, Frontier, Cheektowaga, Niagara- Wheatfield, North Tonawanda, Sweet Home and Royalton-Hartland school districts.